It began with a spark. Only that. The first inkling of what a kiss might be. The spark skittered lightly across her lips, delicate as dandelion fluff. It teased and tickled, this dance of a sprite over the curve of her mouth. She was smiling at the exact moment the spark became a flame.
Heat licked her lips. Fingers of fire slipped under her skin. She was boneless suddenly, melting like candle wax before the flame, and it was his mouth that shaped her, his hands that gave her form.
One of his palms cradled the back of her head. The other lay flat against her abdomen. Each one of his fingertips was a point of heat. There was no weight, no pressure. It was as if his touch had no substance, and the proof that it existed at all was the raised flesh that it left in its wake.
Her fingers folded around the front of his jacket. She didn’t hold it as much as clutch it. It was something substantial, something quite real in the face of everything else that seemed otherworldly.
This kiss, his kiss, was far and away exceeding her expectations.
His tongue flicked her upper lip and touched the underside. She slid her tongue forward, touched his. She’d been tentative, but his response made her bold, and she sucked on his tongue, deepening the kiss, opening her mouth and his to the current of liquid fire.
She heard a sound, one she didn’t recognize as coming from herself until she felt the vibration deep at the back of her throat. She realized she was purring as contentedly as her cat. Or almost as contentedly, she thought, because what she wanted was something more than being scratched between her ears.
Restless, she arched her back. Her heels dug into the upholstered bench. He pressed her back with the flat of his hand before she could turn on her side. She loosened her fingers where they gripped his jacket so they could climb his chest. She slipped them around his neck, lacing them together. She held his head, held it there, afraid he would end the kiss too soon.
His mouth hummed against hers. Her lips trembled. Her tongue quivered. She tasted a hint of coffee in the kiss. Like his tea, he took it without cream or sugar. She didn’t shy from the faint bitterness. It had the opposite effect. She wondered if they could make it sweet.
He drew in a sharp breath. She moaned. The sounds mingled. Overhead, a gull tapped at the skylight, its tattoo identical to the one that her heart beat against her chest. She felt the thrum of the pulse in his neck. It had the same cadence. The very same.
His hand moved from her abdomen to just below her breast. The heat was almost intolerable, yet she couldn’t move away. She stroked his neck and wound dark copper threads of hair around her fingertips. She wished she had not plaited her hair. She wished she had combs and pins and ribbons for him to remove. He would take them out one at a time, as slowly as he liked. She wouldn’t shake her head; she’d let him sift her hair between his fingertips and tug so gently that her scalp would tingle.
It tingled anyway. And then so did the rest of her. It was like the first shiver in the face of a fever; the one that slipped along every muscle. She seemed to contract all at once, folding in on herself so that her skin was no longer a comfortable fit.
She did not expect him to swear, but somehow it was appropriate, more reverent than blasphemous, and when he broke off the kiss and laid his forehead against hers, she knew she was right.
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